Just finished attending a 2-hour meeting on Zoom. As much as possible, I try not to have a lot of questions or opinions during these huddles because from what I notice, the inputs that you have often turn into tasks.
Aye, that's right. The nightmare of lazy folks.
And yet, I still got one tonight.
It's fine, it's fine. I reminded myself of Razumihin's attitude towards such matters and it made the task seem trivial.
"...no failure distressed him, and it seemed as though no unfavourable circumstances could crush him."
Ah, if only I had such a mentality in every situation that stirs my quiescence..
Speaking of which.
Layla called again the very day after she tried calling me twice. (Doesn't she know how to text anymore?)
I finally picked it up and she asked whether I was going to be busy later that evening; just as I was dreading to hear.
"Why?" I asked.
"Creek is finally in the city and wants to hang out with us."
"Eh, I don't want to. I don't like him."
Right after I said that, I heard River's snicker from beside Layla and his comment along the lines of: "I told you she wouldn't come."
A little backstory.
Before River, Layla met this guy on Discord which she later recruited to this server she co-manages; the same server she invited me and Lancelot to, where it is tradition to introduce the newly added members to the rest of the crew. (Well, to the ones who are very active there, anyway.) It's a close-knit community and is the "home server" for a lot of them because several members actually know each other in real life.
Since I have named Layla's boyfriend as "River" here, we're gonna call this other guy "Creek", as I've already done above.
Layla and Creek hit it off quickly. By that, I mean they constantly talked in private, permitting conjectures from bystanders circling on the bloom of a romantic fellowship. Everyone knew of it because they only mainly communicated on this server; and if two users are in private chat rooms, it is visible to the rest of the members.
No one teased and shipped them more than Lancelot to the point of him being extremely annoying.
And it didn't take long for Creek to confess he had feelings for Layla.
I actually liked him for her because he seemed very caring and generous. Perhaps a little "too" generous, even, enough to make me suspicious.
One time, I challenged him in a friendly match of chess, and despite his protracted hiatus in playing the game, he willingly took this challenge and even proposed that whoever loses, gets to treat the winner whatever they want from McDonald's. I might just be deeping things here, but right from the start, it seemed he knew he was going to lose, and when he did, he kept insisting I should get my order because according to him, he is a man of his words. Indeed, it was very gallant of him, but I just couldn't help thinking he buys people's affection this way because he also met up with some of Layla's friends from the capital and would always treat them in restaurants or wherever they fancied. And I really don't want to feel like I owe anyone anything so I refused his insistence multiple times, no matter how tempting the offer was. He also wanted to send Layla some chocolates he got from his recent trip to Japan, and then offered to give me some, too. Layla and I blatantly refused because we are like-minded fools. I mean, from my side, giving Layla some chocolates was reasonable. He fancied her. But to give me some, too, was a little weird, although again, it was very tempting.
Me: "Just let him give you some."
Layla: "Noooo. I don't want to owe him anything."
Me: "You won't owe him anything because he likes you and is not asking for anything in return. I hope…"
Layla: "No, I don't want him to give me anything."
Me: "But I would really love some chocolates from Japan!"
Layla: "Then just give him your address and have him send some chocolates to you."
Me: "No, that would be weird. Just give him your address and then you share the chocolates to me."
Layla: "Noooo 🤣 "
Me: "I'll only accept if you accept! You hold the key here."
She was far too stubborn to surrender so no chocolates for the both of us 😭
Layla had been so unlucky with men so I thought Creek would be good for her because he seems to be the type of guy who would spoil his girl. Most of Layla's relationships, she was always the one who was giving and giving, both in terms of time and material things because that's just the kind of person she is. Also, she has more money than most of her exes. I can't help thinking some of them just used her for the material benefits of dating her, especially that mofo that has the same name as Rollo. I absolutely hate that guy.
So I thought Creek would be a good change for her.
But she wasn't attracted to him and long story short, River came, which now I think is the better option.
Back to the present.
"Just go with us, it would be weird if it's just me and River," Layla pursued.
"It would be even weirder if I'm there because you guys are a couple and that leaves Creek and I—and it would seem like it's a double date."
"Pleaseeeeee," she pleaded.
"Noooo, I planned to sleep this afternoon."
"Oh, come on. You are a vampire. You don't sleep in the evening!"
And then it hit me. "Wait, is this why you called me yesterday? Because Creek is here and wants to hang out?"
"No. We had a house-blessing yesterday and we lit up a lot of candles on the floor and they were very hard to remove afterwards. River and I started scraping them off at noon and finished at like, six in the evening." She then proceeded to laugh at the recollection of yesterday's event despite the menial work they endured. "We were like Cinderella crouching down and scrubbing them off."
Ha! So the bitch called me to bring in reinforcements. It was a smart move, then, not answering her.
"So are you coming with us?" she went on.
"Nope. Like I said, I don't like Creek."
"I thought you liked him!"
"For you! I liked him for YOU! Before River came."
"Why do you even want to hang out with him?" I didn't understand why she was even troubling herself with this when it was obvious the whole ordeal seemed a little too peculiar considering the guy had feelings for her and to make it even more uncomfortable, her present lover knows of this.
Ah, that explains why my presence she so verily demanded. To eliminate some awkwardness in the atmosphere.
"It's not that I want to but because I promised him months ago, remember?!"
I was actually there when this proposal was first broached, which extended to my inclusion in the meet-up. Creek, with an air of hopefulness, directed the question to me later on whether I would also be there truly, as if to confirm my attendance, and stupid me went along with it and said: "Sure. Absolutely." The guy sounded genuine and I didn't want to be mean. Besides, it was months ago and I really didn't think it would happen in the future. At the back of my head, I was rooting for a change of mind on his part.
Had I promised anything, I would've given in eventually. But I didn't.
"Well, I don't think Lancelot would be cool with it," I told Layla, since it was clear my disinterest to go wasn't enough for her obstinate persuasion. "Tell Creek I have a boyfriend now."
"What? Lancelot?" she asked. "You don't have to worry about that, Creek is in pursuit for another girl now."
"Oh, he is?"
"I think so."
"Still! I'm gonna have to ask Lancelot."
A short moment later, my sister came up to my room and told me that our cousin Alice was inviting us to dinner.
"What?! But Layla is inviting me out, too!" I protested in frustration whilst Layla was still on the other line.
"What time?" my witch of a sister asked, and then proceeded to insist on my participation. "Come on, we barely do this with them anymore and you're always absent during these gatherings."
"WHY IS EVERYBODY INVITING ME SOMEWHERE?!"
Me: "Hi, baka. So Creek is finally here in the city and Layla's inviting me to go out with them tonight but I have absolutely no desire to go at all. So I told them you won't let me come 🙂"
Lancelot: "Okay, I will write to Layla that you will come."
Me: "NOOOOOOO! BAKAAAAA!"
As soon as he sent that, I rang him up with smoke coming out of my ears.
"BAKAAA!!! Why would you do that?!" I demanded in abject frustration, feeling betrayed.
"Why shouldn't I do that?" came the bastard's casual reply.
"Because I don't want to go!"
"Well, you're not the boss of me, so…"
"I HATE YOU SO MUCH!!!" I cried in exasperation.
"Why don't you even want to go?"
"Because I'm lazy and I don't like Creek!"
"Why don't you like him?"
"I just don't! And it's weird! Because Layla and River are boyfriend and girlfriend so that leaves Creek and I and it would seem like it's a double date and I just don't want to have any part of it! So I told them you're not allowing me to go."
"Huh? Does that work?" the guy asked, his voice coated with genuine bewilderment.
"But why would they think I won't even allow you to go?"
"Because I told them so."
"But is that even believable? I mean, do they really believe that I won't allow you to go? It doesn't make any sense."
"It does because I told them you're my boyfriend."
"WHAT?" came his exclamation of disbelief.
"Layla was very persistent in inviting me and I was running out of excuses!"
"So you used me."
"What is wrong with you? Please, tell me. It's very important," he asked, laughing.
"Did you really tell her I can come?" I asked, my heated voice minimised to feminine softness to stress sincerity in my question.
"No," he replied.
With this, I felt great relief in my system and gushed a huge thanks to him.
"Wait, so you really painted me out as a psychotic jealous boyfriend .."
I ended up going to dinner with my sister and three of our relatives. After that, the allure of a scary film on a big screen knocked on our interest, so me, my sister, and Alice's teenage sibling, went to watch the newest Insidious movie, drawn by the promise of terror and chill of fear.
Our older sister messaged me on Messenger and suggested we watch Oppenheimer. Honestly, I keep seeing that being mentioned everywhere and thought that it's a character from Barbie because I always see the two in one sentence together.
However, I yearned for my vocal cords to resound with spine-tingling shrieks, so ..
There was only one schedule left for Insidious, the latest one at 10pm. Entering the dark halls of the cinema was a frightening little adventure for us for it was in keeping with the obscure nature of the cinematic experience we came to embark on. Moreover, there were only a handful of other watchers we had noticed outside.
A light from a doorway emanated ahead, effacing the darkness progressively as we approached this. Upon reaching this threshold, we discovered a nearly vacant expanse of seats, its emptiness punctuated only by the presence of six people in the center column, seated by twos one row after another.
Our chosen seats nestled a few rows ahead of the central group and we were giddy with excitement. Never had we gone to see a movie at the cinemas with only this few people! Every one I've had before was packed with a crowd.
"Ugh, darn it. I forgot to bring my glasses!" I complained in annoyance because, yes, I finally got and have been wearing glasses since October last year. I don't usually use them outside but had I known we would be doing this activity, I would've kept it in mind to bring it with me because I'm not one who endeavours to miss anything in a horror film by turning away or covering my vision with my hands. (I actually did turn away at the puking scene. But in my defense, I only turn away when things are disgusting.) So the fact that I'd have to watch the film through lenses of reduced clarity alloyed enthusiasm with vexation.
When I tried to take a selfie to intentionally include the number of watchers behind us, I saw on my phone's screen the first twosome in the row posing for the camera and it rendered me shy, making my hold of the phone falter amidst an embarrassed laughter.
I covered my bashful laugh with my hand but decided to reposition the camera and wave at them through the screen.
"Hello guys!" I greeted and realized I had the camera on video the entire time so I completely recorded everything down from them posing behind and my reaction of diffidence.
There were still several minutes before 10pm and whilst the movie hadn't started yet and the place was still illuminated with lights, the man from the first pair went to the very front of the theater and took a selfie. Everybody understood the assignment and we all posed at the back 🤣
United by the scarcity of our number, another guy did the same and my crew didn't want to be left behind so my sister went to take a groupie of the entire audience as well on the same spot as the first two guys. Everybody definitely passed the vibe check, our collective participation permeating the theater with an air of shared amusement. And it was a very nice feeling. The unspoken camaraderie created a safe and secure ambiance throughout the place.
With us being only so few, it definitely made the movie scarier than when I'd just watch it alone in my room. I mean, with the big screen, big space, and the deafening volume, it's just a different experience overall.
I screamed and got jump scares, and also laughed a lot, which made the ticket worth it. But honestly, I still prefer the first two films. This one is pretty mid and predictable.
When the movie was over at almost midnight, the entire mall had turned eerily deserted, as if there was an apocalypse and we were the only humans left. Everything was closed. Some lights were off. Escalators shut down. It was like the creepy essence of the movie we just watched followed us all the way out. Especially when my sister jumped from the sight of headless mannequins.
Overall, it was a fun night.